Radio host Piolin, Santa Ana cafe owner team up to help man with shoeshine business reopen in new location after COVID-19 shutdown

Strangers stepped in to help a man with a longtime shoeshine business reopen his shop in a new space after COVID-19 forced his original location to close down.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Benjy Gonzalez has been shining shoes for 28 years - and for the entire length of his career, he set up shop at a Tustin car wash. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything when the car wash, like so many businesses, was forced to close.

It hasn't been easy. Both Gonzalez and his wife are disabled and in wheelchairs. And with little-to-no business, it's been difficult for them to pay rent and medical bills.

But then, they received a bit of hope.

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"For the time being, if we can make this his temporary home and if he feels comfortable, we can make it long term by all means. We're here to open up the doors for him," said Frank Farias.

Farias is co-owner at Cafe Cultura in Santa Ana. When he got word of Gonzalez's situation, he knew he wanted to help.

"God willing in the next week or so we'll customize a box for him and work something out where he works comfortable," said Farias.

Little did Gonzalez know, this generosity was all part of a fundraiser. The café teamed up with radio host Piolin, who stepped up with a big donation.

"Being here with him and listening to his story, what he has to go through, I mean that's amazing," said Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo. "He doesn't like freebies. He likes to earn his money."

For those who do want to give, they can, through a GoFundMe campaign, to help.

"Very happy, too much happy. It's incredible," said Gonzalez.

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